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Complex Surfaces: Unfold with a Twist

Author: Samanthie

Tools Needed

* Hexagon

* UV Mapper

Step 1 - Selecting Edges

Using the unfold tool in Hexagon on an object with both thickness and a twist applied to it is a little more challenging than with most objects but it can be done.

Locate and open the Vase file from part 1.


Go to view/Top and zoom into the vase. Select two edges as shown in the image and hit the 'L' key on the keyboard to loop.



Switch to Front view and you should see this;


Step 2 - Selecting Edges Continued

Now we are going to loop around the bottom and the inner edge. Zoom in close to the bottom of the vase and hold down the Shift key and select the edges as shown. Loop the selection. Some edges may be selected that we don't want to be but we will deselect them in a moment.


Select the upper edge of the vase now and loop it.


We are almost ready to map but first we need to make sure to deselect any edges we don't want selected. On my vase some of the edges at the bottom need to be deselected. Zoom in and just hold down the Shift key and click on each unwanted selection to deselect them.


This is how the selected edges should look.


Step 3 - Unfold

Click on the UV and Paint tab and then click on the Unfold tool.


In the Properties panel the default 'seams' should be selected. Click on the plus sign and then on the head icon. Your map will unfold.



Zoom in to inspect the map for any tangled areas. If everything looks OK click on validate. You can now select the individual pieces and resize your map as needed to get it onto the grid. You can also rotate each piece as needed.


Step 4 - Export

When you have finished with the map select the vase object in the Scene tree and export it as a Wavefront object.


To export as a Wavefront object go to file export/Wavefront object and use these settings.


Step 5 - UV Mapper

I use the free UV Mapper Classic available at

Run UV Mapper and load the Wavefront object file for our vase model.


UV Mapper will display a statistics popup, just click OK.


Now go to Edit/Color by Material. The map should turn red. If we had more than one material and shading domain you would see more than one color.


Go to File/Save Texture Map. When the popup menu appears, type in a size for your map. I chose 1500 x 1500.


Texturing the map, once it's finished, can be accomplished as with any other UV map. Any of the library of texturing tutorials in the Arcana can provide numerous examples and tips for this process.

Lead Crystal Vase mapping tutorial by Debbie Overstreet